THE LAUNCH of e-scooter trials in Redditch today was met with praise by council officials and members of the public.
Hailed as a big statement for the town, Redditch is the only place in the UK to trial Bird e-scooters.
The micro-mobility operator teamed up with the borough council to bring the environmentally-friendly machines to the town for a minimum of 12 months.
Senior manager at Bird, Harry Porter, said: “Redditch is really well suited for us.
“The e-scooters are perfect for helping to decrease congestion and improve air quality.
“They cost £1 to rent and then 15p per minute, so you can get quite far by spending just a few quid.
“Our aim is to keep it a similar cost to public transport because we want to encourage people to take mass transit or an e-scooter rather than jumping in their car for short distances.”
For now, the trial zone will be in and around Redditch town centre, but stretching up to Webheath.
The e-scooters, which reach up to 15mph, are designed to either speed up or slow down depending on where the rider is.
Users can drive on the roads but areas such as the Ring Road and the Kingfisher Shopping Centre have been geofenced – stopping them working in those locations.
At the launch, Bird gave out free helmets and offered free rides to the public.
A Matchborough resident told the Standard: “I was really impressed with how easy they are to use.
“I thought I would be falling off all the time but they are really comfortable and easily accessible with just a few clicks of the app.”
Council Leader Matt Dormer, said: “For a company as prestigious as Bird to come here is fantastic – they are all over Europe, the States and now Redditch.
“We have to embrace them – this is the future.”
Mrs Maclean, added: “What we are trying to do is get people out of cars and reduce car emissions. It’s a win-win situation.
“Bird had to consult very carefully with groups such as Guide Dogs and the Blind Association before they were allowed to bring in the trial to make sure it was done in a safe way.”
Riders will need to be over 18-years-old, have a driving licence and also the Bird app downloaded on their smartphones before they can ride.